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Up Jumped the Devil – A Crescent City NOLA Mystery (#2) by Martha Reed is a New Year, New Books Fete pick #mystery #giveaway



Title: Up Jumped the Devil – A Crescent City NOLA Mystery (#2)

 

Author: Martha Reed

 

Genre: Traditional Mystery (LGBTQ interest)

 

Book Blurb:

 

As festive Mardi Gras Carnival season begins, graffiti vandals are targeting notable tombs in NOLA’s historic St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Jane Byrne, the cemetery’s new Chief Security Officer and Gigi Pascoe, a transgender sleuth must identify the miscreants and halt the desecration. Together, they snare two homeless teens who share a horrifying tale of off-the-street kidnappings fueling an inhuman supply chain network.

 

Excerpt:

 

Gigi slid into a rare open booth at Café Irene. “I’m surprised Detective Dupree agreed to meet us.”

 

“Don’t be.” Jane carefully sipped her brimming mug, the café au lait so blisteringly hot it deliciously scorched her lips. “I’ve never known a detective turn down free coffee.”

 

A tinny bell pinged over the door. Jane looked up to see NOPD Detective Antwon Dupree ducking his bullet-shaped head as he entered. Unzipping his navy Criminal Investigative Division windbreaker, his eyes scanned the room. Is he looking for us or checking for exits. Dupree still displayed his Hurricane Katrina Survivor lapel pin on his starched collar with his brass Star and Crescent badge clipped to his belt. I can’t get used to seeing him with white hair. Crossing the café, he loomed over their table.

 

“You two been staying out of trouble?”

 

“And why would we do that?” Gee sassed, sliding across the bench seat to make room. “Weren’t you bringing someone?”

 

“Separate cars. She’s still parking. This neighborhood’s tight.” He waved the server over. “Two espressos, please. Add it to their check.” He settled his hands palm-side down on the Formica. “You two been keeping well?”

 

“Well enough.” Gee’s face tightened. “After losing friends.”

 

“We all been doin’ that.” A burred edge roughened his voice. Straightening, he cleared his throat. “Detective Trahan’s joining us. She’s with CID’s Missing Juvie Section.” He flicked his fingers in Gee’s direction. “From what you said on the phone, she’s the right contact.”

 

Jane leaned on her elbows. “How’s it going, breaking in a new partner?”

 

“She’s alright.” He shrugged. “Kinda chipper. Bordelon was a grumpy old fart, but we worked together a lotta years.” He studied the ceiling. “A new partner takes some getting used to.” The bell rang again, and he dropped his chin. “She’s got modern ways.”

 

An obvious law enforcement officer marched straight down the narrow center aisle. Mid-thirties. Jane estimated. Five-foot-six and a solid buck fifty. She wore a crisp white pocketed dress shirt tucked into belted black trousers. Her medium brown hair was wrapped into a tight bun at the nape of her neck. She had softened the cop look with feathered blonde highlighted bangs, and she wore rose-colored lipstick. Jane felt surprised. Most woman detectives she had known eschewed makeup.

 

Jane slid closer to the wall as Dupree, hampered by the tabletop, half-rose.

 

“Detective Shelli Trahan, NOPD CID. Shelli with an ‘i.’ These are our concerned citizens, Gigi Pascoe, and Jane Byrne.”

 

“I’ve heard of you both.” Studying Gee, she slid onto the bench seat next to Jane. “You were involved in that FBI white supremacy serial killer takedown.”

 

The server returned. “Two espressos. Can I bring y’all anything more?”

 

“I think we’re good,” Jane said. “Thank you.”

 

“So, catch me up.” Squaring her tablet against the table edge, Detective Trahan twisted the curled lemon peel into her cup. “What have you got going? Why are we here?”

 

“We found two kids living rough on the street as part of Jane’s job.” Gee returned her coffee cup to its saucer with a ceramic click. “The girl said her brother’s missing.”

 

Trahan swiped her tablet to life. “And your job is?”

 

“Head of security at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. The boy’s been vandalizing the tombs. That’s what caught my attention.”

 

The detective cut her eyes sideways. “You have anything to do with him going missing?”

 

“Of course not,” Jane retorted.

 

“Had to ask.” She started tapping the keypad. “Two juvies, one missing. Got it.”

 

“They’re squatting in the Warehouse District,” Gee eagerly offered. “The girl’s name is Cleo Duchamp. Her brother Rex is missing.”

 

“I know the Duchamps,” Dupree rumbled. “They work as a team. Rex Duchamp’s been tagged for shoplifting, pickpocketing, minor assault. Mostly from popping drunk tourists in the Quarter.” He unconsciously twisted his serviette between his fingers. “Cleo’s down for selling stolen credit cards and phones plus she’s got prostitution charges against her, if I’m remembering right.”

 

“I hate hearing that,” Jane frowned. “She’s just a kid.”

 

“Some Johns like ‘em young,” Dupree brutally stated.

 

“No age limits I’ve ever seen outside the club,” Gee agreed.

 

“I’m not surprised Rex Duchamp’s missing.” Detective Trahan toyed with her spoon. “We’ve been seeing an uptick in missing homeless people this time of year. S’been increasing steadily since I started tracking it.”

 

“Winter’s over,” Jane suggested. “Maybe they’re leaving NOLA for work.”

 

“These aren’t people with significant job skills. We used to see an uptick in the incoming transient population before Carnival season, but that’s been reversed.”

 

“That makes no sense.” Gee fanned her fingers. “Why would anyone leave NOLA before Mardi Gras and miss the parties?”

 

“The increase is odd. And the missing homeless demographic is skewing younger.”

 

“How young?” Jane probed.

 

“Really young. The average median homeless life expectancy used to be fifty years old with deaths linked to overdose, suicide, or long-standing health issues like untreated diabetes. Lately, though, we’re seeing more missing homeless in their teens and early twenties.” Her eyes grew unfocused. “I can’t explain it. And the increased casework lands on my desk.”

 

“Runaways, maybe?” Jane suggested.

 

Detective Trahan delicately finished her espresso. “Possibly.”

 

Jane squinted. “Sex trafficking, out of state?”

 

“More likely,” she agreed.

 

Gee frowned. “What makes you say that?”

 

Detective Trahan neatly returned the cup to its saucer. “Because we never find their bodies.”

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

 

AMAZON:

 

GOODREADS:

 

WEBSITE:

 


It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities. Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2024? If so, please share one.

 

I’m going to make my John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mysteries and my Crescent City NOLA Mystery series into audiobooks.

 

Why is your featured book a must-read in 2024?

 

Everyone should visit New Orleans at least once in their lifetime to explore the history, the exquisite food, the warm and welcoming people. If you can’t go in person, the NOLA Mystery series will transport you there. Let’s go!

 

Giveaway –

 

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

 

 

Open internationally.

 

Runs January 1 – 31, 2024

 

Drawing will be held on February 1, 2024.

 


Author Biography:

 

Martha Reed is a multi-award-winning crime fiction author. Her short story, “The Honor Thief,” was included in This Time For Sure, the Anthony Award-winning Bouchercon 2021 anthology. Her first Crescent City NOLA Mystery, Love Power won a 2021 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and features Gigi Pascoe, a transgender sleuth. Martha is also the author of the Independent Publisher IPPY Book Award-winning John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mystery series. Visit her website www.reedmenow.com for more.

 

Social Media Links:

 

Website: reedmenow.com

Facebook: Martha Reed

Instagram: merdog36

Twitter/X: @reedmartha

1 Comment


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jan 11

Thank you, Martha, for sharing your book in our New Year, New Books Fete!

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